Biomass keeping Killerton toasty

wood pellets at Killerton, Devon

To heat the house and its water, we’ve replaced three oil-fired boilers with biomass boilers to improve energy efficiency, sustainability and reliability. Running on wood pellets, the switch will save the National Trust around 24,000 litres of oil and £13,760 in running costs a year. We’ll also save 47 tons of carbon dioxide. Stepping away from fossil fuels will also help to meet the charity's renewable energy targets.

What are we up to?

We’ve removed three old boilers from the basement of the house. Only two are still operational and they often broke down, casting visitors, volunteers and staff into the cold. The oil tank was also a pollution risk as it’s above the ground. The old boiler systems lived alongside some resident lesser horseshoe bats, so when the system needed a bit of love and care there was a small risk that we could disturb our furry friends.

Coming home to roost (in peace)

To make sure the lesser horseshoe bats had plenty of peace and quiet during the April-September maternity roost, the old boilers in the house basement were removed during the first phase of work. They won’t be left in the cold though and they’ll still have heating to keep them as toasty as ever. It was vital that work was completed in this area by the end of March. The new boilers will be located near the house in existing stores.

Update: a recent bat survey has revealed that bat numbers have increased since the project completion.

National renewable target

We have a ‘Grow Your Own’ commitment to produce 50% of our energy from renewable resources by 2020, and get places ‘off oil’. This biomass project alone will help 0.3% towards this national target.

It's more than boilers

It’s not all about the new boilers. As part of the project, Killerton's wonderful building team have been busy revamping bin and buggy storage to create a boiler house and pellet store. The new systems will be sensitively tucked away in existing buildings, meaning Killerton will still look as lovely.

Facts and figures 

  • The biomass boilers have a capacity of 210Kw, enough to power around 5500 lightbulbs at once
  • New boilers will save the charity 24,000 litres of oil, £13,760 in running costs and 47 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year
  • 55 tonnes of local wood pellets a year will go into the boilers
  • The project will help 0.3% towards the National Trust’s ‘Grow Your Own’ renewable energy commitment
  • Will keep around 400 volunteers, 60 members of staff and over 220,000 visitors to Killerton nice and warm inside the house every year.

Did you know?

Woodlands on the estate will continue to provide sustainable fuel like firewood and chip for the local woodchip industry.

Killerton's project team admire the new biomass and water tank systems
The project team line up in front of the heating system
Killerton's project team admire the new biomass and water tank systems